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Editors: This item was put forward by David Scobie to the new Northbridge & Castlecrag Chamber of Commerce. We think they provide a good basis for further discussion on the elements that might be addressed in improving the attractiveness of our Castlecrag shopping village as the ‘gateway’ to Castlecrag and David has kindly updated the article for use in The Crag. We welcome your ideas on this important subject.

The following ideas are put forward as part of a broader strategy to improve the Castlecrag and Northbridge business precincts. They are proposed in the context of the current consultations regarding the Northbridge Plaza MasterPlan. The premise is that with any further development of the Plaza, it will be essential that the surroundings are improved to meet increased demand, to satisfy the concerns from local residents about their immediate environs and to take advantage of any improved retail and business opportunities that may arise. It is also likely that the tenant mix within the Plaza will change thus opening up possibilities for a more diverse range of business uses within the traditional shopping areas.

The theme binding the proposals is that Northbridge and Castlecrag shopping areas should continue to develop as villages with their own unique and distinctive character. Suggested improvements include:

• Pavement finishes to be non-slip and tactile, with an attractive appearance and mobility curbs;
• Improved street lighting for both traffic and ambient pedestrian areas, including protected under-awning spaces;
• Increased use of street trees and planters where appropriate;
• Opportunities for outdoor dining in appropriate locations;
• Policies and incentives to encourage businesses to improve their presentation, shop-fronts, mobility access, awning safety and awning lighting, signs and shop lighting;
• Appropriate and distinctive seating;
• Complimentary litter bins;
• Vehicle parking spaces for accessible users and standard timed zones;
• Appropriate delivery and service vehicle standing spaces;
• Appropriate blister elements to improve pedestrian access and crossing distances; and
• Support for improved street address numbering through a standard street number ‘plate’ on each property.

David Scobie